The front doors to Mission San Juan Capistrano were vandalized by graffiti, staff members discovered Friday morning, Dec. 11, the day after the historic site temporarily closed its doors because of the stay-at-home order due to the coronavirus.
The graffiti from what appears to be white spray paint marked the large wooden doors that are the entryway to the 244-year-old site, said Mechelle Lawrence-Adams, executive director of the mission. The handcrafted doors, made specifically for the site in 2013, were repairable and staff was able to remove the paint by Friday afternoon, she said.
“We’ve been tagged on the walls, on the side,” Lawrence-Adams said, “but we’ve never had the front of the mission. To me, it felt like a complete dis to the mission.”
It wasn’t yet known who was responsible for the vandalism or what their intent was.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department was investigating the incident and using surveillance footage from the area, agency spokeswoman Carrie Braun said.
This week was already tough on staff and the San Juan Capistrano community, marking the mission’s second shutdown since the pandemic due to the stay-at-home order, Lawrence-Adams said. During the holiday season, the mission would be buzzing with visitors of all faiths, but since Wednesday only the retail store is open.
The vandalism just brought on another challenge this year.
“We were just shocked,” she said.
The doors that were vandalized need some more work, including additional staining to the wood, but Lawrence-Adams said from the outside eye it looks good. The executive director said she can’t wait for when the mission’s doors will be able to re-open to the public.
Source: Orange County Register